6-8-11: A Setting for Birth
In May, a midwife based in Maryland pleaded guilty in Virginia to two felonies stemming from the death of a baby after a home birth. That midwife, Karen Carr, is now being investigated by St. Mary’s County in another death in rural Maryland in November. Last month, we spoke with Karen Carr about how she practices midwifery.
We wanted to take a closer look at the practice of midwifery in Maryland, generally. In the U. S., the majority of midwife-attended births take place in hospitals…but many people still associate midwives with births that take place outside the hospital—at home, or in a free-standing birth center.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, in 2006, fewer than 1 percent of all births in Maryland took place outside of a hospital—though that number is rising. The CDC found that the number of mothers opting for out-of-hospital birth had risen by 35 percent from three years prior.
In this segment, we hear perspectives from those who are familiar with midwife-attended births– at home, in birth centers, and in hospitals–and we discuss the possible problems when a direct-entry midwife (who may not be licensed) must transfer care to a physician at a hospital.
Brigitte Jacobson is a former Navy pilot who gave birth to her second child at her home in Baltimore. In this web extra, you can hear Brigitte describe the process of deciding to give birth at home–her son arrived before the midwife did:
We also talk with Ann Sober, a nurse who is director of a birth center in Arnold, north of Annapolis. It’s called “Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center.” Ann also established a birth center in Baltimore thirty years ago, before birth centers were licensed in Maryland. In this additional web extra, you can hear her talk about that process:
We also speak with Erin Wright, a certified nurse-midwife who practices at a hospital through the University of Maryland, about the process of having a midwife-attended birth in a hospital. Erin is also president of the Maryland Chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
In this segment, we didn’t speak with an OB-GYN or hospital official – we’re looking forward to doing that in future coverage.
We’d also like to hear about your own birth experiences, whether it was at home, in a hospital, with a midwife or a doctor – leave us a comment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 410-881-3162.